A PC wearing a Breastplate of Psychic Resistance (DMG, 152) wants to upgrade their armour to half plate while retaining the magical resistance.

Can a PC put on half plate armour and retain the magical properties of their original breastplate?

According to the description of half plate armor (PHB, p. 145):

Half plate consists of shaped metal plates that cover most of the wearer's body.

Example: Agar goes to an armorer and buys half plate armor. In the change-room (without taking off his breastplate) he puts on all the components of the half plate (except the plates that would cover his torso) he leaves. Does he still have psychic resistance?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ related rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/156696 \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 16:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ this is less about upgrading armor and more about whether you can upgrade a magic item. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 19:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @John Hey, don't quote me! :) But seriously, that's a different process. This question is asking if you can us part of one armor to make a different armor. I'm not seeing it's different just because it's also a magic armor. An identical question would be if OP asked about turning mundane half-plate into an armor of resistance. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch because the question is not can you upgrade the armor, it is can you upgrade the armor "while retaining its magical properties" Basically boils down to can you alter a magical item at all. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 19:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @John the implied difference here is that nothing at all is being done to the magical item; but rather that the half plate armor set is implied to be a combination of a breastplate and some other components worn at the same time, so you might just as well use the magical breastplate in the exact same manner as you might use a magical helmet or magical boots instead of whatever helmet or boots your ordinary armor set includes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peteris
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 2:26

3 Answers 3


Talk to your DM

There are no specific rules about armor types being converted from one to another and whether or not this is possible.

The Equipment lists seem to indicate that each one is it's own thing and thus suggests that they aren't additive or reductive in any RAW way.

Whether or not a DM will allow conversions like this, or how they'll make it work if they do, is up to them to decide.

As Illarion says in their answer, there can be unforeseen problems if this is permitted. Combining multiple magical armors is what comes to mind first.

Pieces of Armor

Plate (PHB, 145) is described as:

Plate consists of shaped, interlocking metal plates to cover the entire body. A suit of plate includes gauntlets, heavy leather boots, a visored helmet, and thick layers of padding underneath the armor. Buckles and straps distribute the weight over the body.

If we look at the strict RAW on this, the armor is made up of interlocking metal plates to cover the entire body, but also has some specific parts: gauntlets, boots, and a helmet.

A DM could interpret this to mean that the specific pieces mentioned may be changed out for other magical items (e.g. gauntlets of ogre power, boots of elvenkind, helm of telepathy), but that the remaining armor is a single item that doesn't have interchangeable parts.

However, the language is 'loose' enough that a very strict DM could say that you can't change any of it out.

Ultimately, this is a conversation with your DM about what is reasonable and what is not. But the different armor types do seem to be separate, but that some of the pieces do appear to be interchangeable. The breastplate doesn't seem to be as it's not called out as a separate piece. At my tables, we have allowed armor wearers to substitute magical items like those above (boots, gauntlets, and helmets) to be used. But we have required that wholesale armor changes (chain/leather/plate/half-plate/etc) are fully replaced.


The rules don't specify, so the literal (only) answer to the question is "If the DM says so".

Were I that DM, I would be thinking:

  1. Half plate includes a breastplate, and it's reasonable that you could physically replace the included breastplate with the BoPR (possibly requiring trivial modifications to straps etc).

  2. This should give you (at least) as good protection as wearing the half plate alone, likewise stealth disadvantage - so in this case, AC15, stealth disadvantage, psychic resistance vs AC14, no disadvantage, psychic resistance with the breastplate alone.

  3. I would be wary however that this sets a precedent, and I'm quite sure there are abusive ways to combine armour in this way that could be found.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the stack! Please take our tour to learn a bit more about how we operate, but nice first answer to cover that it's a DM call and also bringing in some potential concerns to think about. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ A DM could maybe avoid point 3 by requiring a Smith to take a look at all parts and decide whether they are compatible or not. And then if someone tries to abuse it by combining pieces that would be too strong, the Smith says they are not compatible without great reforming which might break any spells on them. Then it is at the same time consistent as well as not so abusable. \$\endgroup\$
    – findusl
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 11:55

Yes, there are no rules to forbid such thing.

But there would be a lot of work

As you could see on the images below, you not only need to add some armor pieces to the breathplate, but also you should need to make holes in it to tackle these armor pieces. Also you maybe should cut it a little bit from the bottom.

But your breathplate is an magic item already, that's why it has resistance to all damage.

It means you need to do double your efforts to make such holes and stuff.

Maybe it would be a way easier just to create brand new magic item.

Breastplate and Half plate images

Breastplate imageHalf plate image

  • \$\begingroup\$ Where does "resistance to all damage" come from? \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 13:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't an equally valid answer be "There are no rules that allow this"? 5e Presents the rules for things we can do with fewer rules on things you can't. But the lack of a rule doesn't mean that it's automatically allowable, it just means it's time for DM to make a ruling. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 13:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please, link to source of your images, and make sure they're free to repost. Also, there are no rules that forbid Fighter knowing and casting Wish for free at will - it is an exaggerated example of why "no rules against" does not prove something works. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 13:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot “ there are no rules that forbid Fighter knowing and casting Wish for free at will” Nope. PHB includes strict spell lists for every character class and there is no Wish spell for Fighter class here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ohar
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 17:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the top line saying "yes [...]", however the rest of the answer I disagree with as it doesn't follow from OP's described scenario -- OP doesn't want to piece together parts of individual armor pieces, but rather substitute the mundane breastplate of a suit of half-plate armor with the magical breastplate already in use. No cutting or poking holes should be necessary. \$\endgroup\$
    – TylerH
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 18:37

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